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In This Edition

Matt Taibbi with a must read, "RIP Edward Herman, Who Co-Wrote A Book That's Now More Important Than Ever."

Uri Avnery studies, "A History Of Idiocy."

Glen Ford examines, "Baltimore Police Throw Constitution Out The Window."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Worse Than Jeff Sessions? Let's Not Find Out."

Jim Hightower asks, "Why Won't Trump Stand Up To Putin?"

John Nichols discovers, "Donald Trump's FCC Is A Clear And Present Danger To Democracy."

James Donahue on, "Thanksgiving 2017 - Some Thoughts."

Phil Rockstroh returns with, "A Partisanship Of The Heart: Interior Measures Towards A Re-Visioning Of Capitalism's Imperium Of Death."

Heather Digby Parton goes, "Inside The Dossier."

David Suzuki concludes, "Site C Exposes Economic Folly Of Flooding Farmland."

Charles P. Pierce finds, "Neil Gorsuch Is Making Antonin Scalia Look Like Mother Theresa."

David Swanson wonders, "Are Tweets Making Everyone Twits?"

Ralph Nader sees, "National Democratic Party - Pole Vaulting Back Into Place."

Alabama governor Kay Ivey wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich observes, "The Backlash Against The Bullies."

Chris Hedges takes us, "Behind The Mask Of The 'Moderates.'"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Trump Privately Terrified His Sexual Assault Victims Will Someday Come Forward" but first Uncle Ernie warns of, "The Nightmares To Come."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Monte Wolverton, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Alex Wong, Milt Priggee, Benjamin Lowy, Bill Clark, Zach Gibson, DeSmogCanada, Reuters, Shutterstock, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, HBO, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

The Quotable Quote...
The Vidkun Quisling Award...
The Cartoon Corner...
To End On A Happy Note...
Have You Seen This...
Parting Shots...

Welcome one and all to "Uncle Ernie's Issues & Alibis."

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The Nightmares To Come
By Ernest Stewart

"...I consider that to be one of the greatest Christmas presents. We are working to give the American people a giant tax cut for Christmas. We are giving them a big beautiful Christmas present in the form of a tremendous tax cut." ~~~ Donald Trump

"Many scientists didn't consider the Arctic big enough to greatly influence the average global temperatures. The Arctic is remote only in terms of physical distance. In terms of science, it's close to every one of us. It's a necessary part of the equation and the answer affects us all." ~~~ Xiangdong Zhang ~ University of Alaska Fairbanks professor

"I sat in the Courthouse a lot thinking 'I'm going to go in, I'm going to confront him.' This was 2000, 2001, and I wanted to walk into his office and say, 'Hey remember me? You need to knock this stuff off.' I need to go public. My children were small so I didn't do it." ~~~ Leigh Corfman ~ one of Roy Moore's victims.

It's good news week
Someone's dropped a bomb somewhere
Contaminating atmosphere
And blackening the sky
It's Good News Week ~~ Hedgehoppers Anonymous

Paul Ryan and Mick Mulvaney have a little Christmas present waiting in the wings for you, America. Corporate America is zeroing in on your Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security with the help of Ryan and Mulvaney and the rest of the Rethuglicans. How? I here you ask. Simple, their tax cuts for the billionaires will be paid for with dramatic cuts to the three above mentioned programs.

The Congressional Budget Office says that the GOP tax bill will instantly trigger $400 billion in automatic cuts to Medicare in the next 10 years, including $25 billion in the first year after enactment alone.

This is because of the PAYGO law. PAYGO is the law that requires automatic cuts to spending when Con-gress runs a deficit. The Rethuglican $1.5 trillion dollar gift to America's 1% rulling class will trigger it and Nick Mulvaney who heads the White House Office of Management and Budget and has the exclusive power to determine how to implement the Medicare cuts. You may recall that Mulvaney, is a self-described "right-wing nut-job and anti-government zealot" who shares Ryan's desire to cut and destroy Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

You may recall the Donald said, "We are working to give the American people a giant tax cut for Christmas." What he means is they're giving his 1% cronies and himself a tax break. Donald will have his taxes cut by $20,000,000.00. a year. On the estate tax, his children will get and extra $1,000,000,000.00

If this passes the elderly, sick, and poor will be paying the price for Ryan's tax cuts with their lives! As Bugs Bunny was wont to say, "Of course, you know, this means war!" Perhaps you would like to pass that message along to your Sinators, before it's too late? They'll be voting on this bill next week! So this is how you make America great, eh Donny?

In Other News

More bad news for global warming deniers! Apparently missing Arctic temperature data, not Mother Nature, created the seeming slowdown of global warming from 1998 to 2012, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

A University of Alaska Fairbanks professor and his colleagues in China constructed the first data set of surface temperatures from across the world that significantly improves representation of the Arctic during the so called, "global warming hiatus."

Xiangdong Zhang, an atmospheric scientist with UAF's International Arctic Research Center, said he collaborated with colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Chinese agencies studying Arctic warming to analyze temperature data collected from buoys drifting in the Arctic Ocean.

"We recalculated the average global temperatures from 1998-2012 and found that the rate of global warming had continued to rise at 0.112C per decade instead of slowing down to 0.05C per decade as previously thought," said Zhang.

The new data also improved estimates of the global warming and the Arctic warming rate. "We estimated a new rate of Arctic warming at 0.659 C per decade from 1998-2014. Compared with the newly estimated global warming rate of 0.130 C per decade, the Arctic has warmed more than five time the global average," said Zhang.

The team developed new methods of incorporating the Arctic temperature data into global temperature data so that they could better estimate the average temperatures. Most current estimates use global data that tend to represent a long time span and provide good coverage of a global geographic area. But the remote Arctic lacks a robust network of instruments to collect temperature data.

To improve the dataset in time and space, the team relied on temperature data collected from the International Arctic Buoy Program at the University of Washington. For global data, the team used newly corrected sea surface temperatures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Zhang said "this study expands on NOAA research and other recent studies that have either supported or refuted the idea of a global warming hiatus by reestimating the average global temperatures during that time period with more accurate and representative data."

So, sorry big oil, and big coal, all the money you spent paying those climate change deniers was a waste of time and money. If you want to exist in this day and age I suggest you drop your poisons and switch to renewable energy sources. Solar, wind and wave power are the energy powers of the future and you can either switch to them or be prepared to be passed over and passed by, by the energy companies that do!

And Finally

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey says she believes the allegations that Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually abused children and preyed on teenage girls, but will still vote for him because he's a Republican. I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on drugs!

She'll vote for a child molesting, racist, religious fanatic because it's the Republican way!!!!

"I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for, and most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions," Ivey said. "So that's what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore."

"I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of [Moore's accusers]," she said. "The timing is a little curious. But at the same time, I have no reason to disbelieve them."

So you know what I did, right? I wrote her this note:

Hey Kay,

I see you'll be voting for Roy Moore because you believe in what the Republican party stands for. In Roy's case it stands for bigotry, racism and child molestation. Not to mention making America a Christian nation as his god is the "only real god." So them Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists and the like, had better watch out!

That's an interesting political philosophy you have there Kay. I'll grant you that, bigotry, racism and grabbing them by the pussy, does sound like Republican moral values, doesn't it?

However, Kay, I have some good news for you. You've just won this week's The Vidkun Quisling Award... . That's the magazine weekly award for being the biggest traitor in America and this week, that's you, Kay! I bet your mother would be proud, eh Kay?


Ernest Stewart
Managing Editor
Issues and Alibis magazine

If you have any thoughts that you'd like to share with Kay you may do so at:

Face Book:

Or at:

And if you do, tell her Uncle Ernie sent you!

Keepin' On

It's always something - isn't it? Every week some new unexpected nightmare brought to you by our power elite. It's next to imposible to keep up with it all. For example by December 2002 we had counted and documented over two hundred separate acts of treason and sedition by the "Crime Family Bush" and their minions. We gave up counting at that point because what was the point to keep counting, when nothing was going to be done about it.

As Barry said as soon as he was sworn in that we should forget about the past acts of treason and sedition committed by Smirky, old dead eye Cheney and crew and look only forward, end of conversation, a conversation that got him in the White House. At which point many of the liberal sheeple rolled over and went back to sleep. The main stream media fell in line behind him as they did behind Bush just as soon as they realized that Barry was just more of the same and they started covering up this act of treason or that war crime or crime against humanity, i.e., it was business as usual!

Then along came a political joke that made things ten times worse. In fact Trump may make this country into a 3rd world country, or worse, a burned out cinder that will glow in the dark for the next 250,000 years.

It's never been business as usual at Issues & Alibis because as old Bart Cop once said of me, "You hate everybody" but isn't that what you want from a news service, someone that hasn't been bought out by either party or as in most cases of the MSM by both parties. Someone that wouldn't let his allegiance to the lesser of two evils blind his site and journalistic abilities. We just tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may.

If you think that this is a valuable thing to have in this day and age of "fake news" then wouldn't it be to your advantage to keep us fighting the good fight for you and yours. You can always deal with the truth but you have no know what the truth is, and every week we bring it to you to deal with. If this is important to you, then please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep up the fight!


08-08-1932 ~ 11-19-2017
Thanks for the music!

11-12-1934 ~ 11-19-2017
Burn Baby Burn!

07-06-1931 ~ 11-19-2017
Thanks for the music!

04-12-1950 ~ 11-21-2017
Thanks for the music!


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For late breaking news and views visit The Forum. Find all the news you'll otherwise miss. We publish three times the amount of material there than what is in the magazine. Look for the latest Activist Alerts. Updated constantly, please feel free to post an article we may have missed.


So how do you like Trump so far?
And more importantly, what are you planning on doing about it?

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2017 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

RIP Edward Herman, Who Co-Wrote A Book That's Now More Important Than Ever
We need a new 'Manufacturing Consent'
By Matt Taibbi

Edward Herman, the co-author (with Noam Chomsky) of Manufacturing Consent, has died. He was 92. His work has never been more relevant.

Manufacturing Consent was a kind of bible of media criticism for a generation of dissident thinkers. The book described with great clarity how the system of private commercial media in America cooperates with state power to generate propaganda.

Herman's work was difficult for many to understand because the nature of the American media, then and now, seemed at best to be at an arm's length from, say, the CIA or the State Department. Here is how the book put it:

"It is much more difficult to see a propaganda system at work where the media are private and formal censorship is absent."

The basic thesis of Manufacturing Consent was that propaganda in America is generated through a few key idiosyncrasies of our (mostly private) system.

One is that getting the whole population to buy in to a narrative requires the sustained attention of the greater part of the commercial media, for at least a news cycle or two.

We don't censor the truth in America, mostly. What we do instead is ignore it. If a lone reporter wants to keep banging a drum about something taboo, like contracting corruption in the military, or atrocities abroad, he or she will a) tend not advance in the business, and b) not be picked up by other media.

Therefore the only stories that tended to reach mass audiences were ones in which the basic gist was agreed upon by the editors and news directors of all or most of the major media companies.

In virtually all cases this little mini-oligarchy of media overlords kept the news closely in sync with the official pronouncements of the U.S. government.

The appearance of dissent was permitted in op-ed pages, where Democrats and Republicans "debated" things. But what readers encountered in these places was a highly ritualized, artificially narrow form of argument kept strictly within a range of acceptable opinions.

Herman and Chomsky stressed the concept of worthy and unworthy victims. In Manufacturing Consent, written during the Cold War, the idea was expressed thusly: One Polish priest murdered behind the Iron Curtain earned about a hundred times as much coverage as priests shot in Latin America by American-backed dictatorships.

The Polish priest was the worthy victim, the Latin American priests unworthy.

So Americans learned to be furious about atrocities committed in Soviet client states, but blind to almost exactly similar crimes committed within our own spheres of influence.

The really sad part about the Herman/Chomsky thesis was that it didn't rely upon coercion or violence. Newspapers and TV channels portrayed the world in this America-centric way not because they were forced to. Mostly, they were just intellectually lazy and disinterested in the stated mission of their business, i.e., telling the truth.

In fact, media outlets were simply vehicles for conveying ads, and a consistent and un-troubling view of the political universe was a prerequisite for selling cars, candy bars, detergent, etc. Upset people don't buy stuff. This is why Sunday afternoon broadcasts featured golf tournaments and not police beatings or reports from cancer wards near Superfund sites.

The news business was about making money, and making money back then for big media was easy. So why make a fuss?

As a result, the top executives in news agencies were people who were inclined to take official sources as gospel. An additional feature of the business was that the least skeptical reporters were the ones who were promoted the most quickly. And when they got there, reporters manning the top posts were encouraged to develop an almost religious worship of credentialing.

A person with a title, be it someone from a think tank, a university, or especially a security service organ, was to be trusted unquestioningly. Meanwhile, outside/dissenting voices were given the hardcore "skeptical journalist" treatment.

This is how situations like the Iraq War invasion happened, in defiance of all common sense.

Even though a child could see that the government's stated reason for going into Iraq was both insane and a fiction, virtually everyone in the business jumped into the story with both feet.

Round the clock, TV sets were full of current and former generals and/or talking heads from think tanks boosting the war rationale. Antiwar voices were almost totally excluded.

Within the business, those with doubts hesitated to say so in public. Even at the editorial level, this was so, thanks to fear of backlash.

Herman/Chomsky identified that phenomenon in Manufacturing Consent as "flak" - a policing mechanism whereby reporters and/or media outlets that stepped out of line could expect to be denounced by an entire range of establishment voices.

Those voices were usually the same credentialed "experts" who were accustomed to being worshipped in the normal course of coverage.

Flak worked. It scared advertisers, and what scares advertisers scares editors.

In the case of Iraq, fear of being called unpatriotic, a terrorist-lover or "against the troops" cowed most news directors or editors with even remote doubts. And when that didn't work, networks like MSNBC simply yanked disobedient antiwar voices like Phil Donahue and Jesse Ventura.

Through these parallel operations - the pushing of approved narratives on the one hand and the policing and hiding of forbidden ones on the other - this seemingly unconnected federation of competing media companies and establishment spokesfiends "manufactured" public opinion.

There was no dictum from above, the way it might have happened in a tinpot dictatorship or a superpower oligarchy like the Soviet Union.

Public "consent" for policies like the Iraq invasion was manufactured through a complex series of organic processes, then kept in place via a mix of powerful economic and psychological incentives.

Herman was interested in the phenomenon of how even outright fictions could be sold in a "free" media system.

In his last piece, from this past summer, Herman made a list of some of the whoppers the media has foisted on the public over the years: the depiction of the U.S. not as an invader but as a defender of South Vietnam against "aggression," the notion that the Soviets were behind a papal assassination attempt, the "missile gap" and others.

Herman was a skeptic about the current Russia news, but that isn't why his work is relevant today. You can believe he's dead wrong on Russia and Trump, and Manufacturing Consent would still be far more relevant now than it was when he and Chomsky first wrote it.

The main reasons for this have to do with the structure of the current commercial media. Because of tech companies like Google and Facebook, it is significantly easier to "manufacture" consent today than it was before.

A small handful of monopolistic tech companies like Facebook have life-or-death power over media companies. They can steer traffic wherever they please simply by tweaking their algorithms. Firms that don't themselves create news content wield this monstrous influence.

Controlling how, where and when you got the news was how media companies were paid previously. Since those processes are mostly out of their hands now, news companies no longer control their own economic fates.

They have become vassals to essentially unregulated, monopolistic distribution mechanisms like Facebook, who additionally appropriate the lion's share of the profits that used to fund things like investigative journalism.

Moreover the policing mechanisms are far more powerful now. Herman and Chomsky wrote about flak in the era before social media. Today blowback against dissenting thought is instantaneous and massive.

Individual reporters are far more likely to be freaked out about it because Internet trolls are so personal and can rattle just about anyone. Add the proliferation of fake blowback produced by oppo firms and troll farms and it's not an accident that the overwhelming majority of "legacy media" content stays within the confines of conventional blue or red rhetoric.

The major difference between then and now has to do with which narratives are being pushed. When Manufacturing Consent was written the major problem was that Americans across the entire political spectrum were being sold a range of myths about the beneficence of American power and government policy.

Today it is not clear who is actually dictating to whom. Is the state dictating to the media, or are global distribution firms dictating the narrative to states?

We can make a few deductions about the new "manufactured consent." The thrust of modern media isn't as simple as cheerleading for the flag and ignoring atrocities, although we clearly still do that.

There seems also to be a massive emphasis on political division as a route to profit. Since getting people to discuss and argue is how companies like Facebook get paid, driving us toward ever more divisive media is an obvious imperative. But to what end?

Herman and Chomsky's work was a great gift to a generation of thinkers trying to make sense of how power in the West sold itself to populations. The late Herman should be honored for that critical contribution he made to understanding American empire.

It's a shame he never wrote a sequel. Now more than ever, we could use another Manufacturing Consent.
(c) 2017 Matt Taibbi is Rolling Stone's chief political reporter, Matt Taibbi's predecessors include the likes of journalistic giants Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O'Rourke. Taibbi's 2004 campaign journal Spanking the Donkey cemented his status as an incisive, irreverent, zero-bullshit reporter. His books include Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion, Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire.

A History Of Idiocy
By Uri Avnery

I am furious. And I have good reason to be furious.

I was going to write an article about a subject I have been thinking about for a long time.

This week I opened the New York Times and lo, my yet unwritten article appeared on its opinion pages in full, argument after argument.

How come? I have only one explanation: the author - I have forgotten the name - has stolen the ideas from my head by some magical means, which surely must be branded as criminal. A person once tried to kill me for doing the same thing to him.

So I have decided to write this article in spite of everything.

THE SUBJECT is idiocy. Particularly, the role of idiocy in history.

The older I get, the more convinced I am that sheer stupidity plays a major role in the history of nations.

Great Thinkers, compared to whom I am a mere intellectual dwarf, have pursued other factors to explain what has turned history into a mess. Karl Marx blamed the economy. The economy has directed humankind from its earliest beginnings.

Others blame God. Religion has caused awful wars, and still does. Look at the Crusades, which for almost two hundred years raged in my country. Look at the 30-year War which devastated Germany. No end in sight.

Some accuse Race. Whites against Red Indians. Aryans against Untermenschen. Nazis against Jews. Terrible.

Or geopolitics. The White Man's Burden.The Drang-nach-Osten.

For many generations, Great Thinkers have been searching for some deep explanation for war. There must be such an explanation. After all, terrible historical events cannot just happen. There must be something profound, something sinister, which is causing all this untold misery. Something that has accompanied the human race from its very beginnings, and that still directs our destiny.

I HAVE adopted most of these theories in my time. Many of them impressed me very much. Great thinkers. Deep thoughts. I have read many thick volumes. But in the end, they left me unsatisfied.

In the end it hit me. There is indeed one factor common to all these historical events: foolishness.

I know that this sounds incredible. Foolishness? All these thousands of wars? All these hundreds of millions of casualties? All these emperors, kings, statesmen, strategists? All fools?

Recently I was asked for an example. "Show me how it works," an incredulous listener demanded. I mentioned the outbreak of World War I, an event that changed the face of Europe and the world forever, and which ended just five years before I was born, My earliest childhood was spent in the shadow of this cataclysm.

It happened like this:

An Austrian archduke was killed in the town of Sarajevo by a Serbian anarchist. It happened almost by accident: the planned attempt failed, but later the terrorist happened upon the duke and killed him.

So what? The duke was a quite unimportant person. Thousands of such acts have happened before and since. But this time the Austrian statesmen thought that this was a good opportunity to teach the Serbs a lesson. It took the form of an ultimatum.

No big deal. Such things happen all the time. But the powerful Russian empire was allied with Serbia, so the Czar issued a warning: he ordered the mobilization of his army, just to make his point.

In Germany, all the red lights went on. Germany is situated in the middle of Europe and has no impregnable natural borders, no oceans, no high mountains. It was trapped between two great military powers, Russia and France. For years the German generals had been pondering how to save the Fatherland if attacked from the two sides simultaneously.

A master-plan evolved. Russia was a huge country, and it would take several weeks to mobilize the Russian army. These weeks must be used to smash France, turn the army around and stop the Russians.

It was a brilliant plan, worked out to the finest detail by brilliant military minds. But the German army was stopped at the gates of Paris. The British intervened to help France. The result was a static war of four long years, where nothing really happened except that millions upon millions of human beings were slaughtered or maimed.

In the end a peace was made, a peace so stupid that it virtually made a Second World War inevitable. This broke out a mere 21 years later, with even larger numbers of casualties.

MANY BOOKS have been written about "July 1914", the crucial month in which World War I became inevitable.

How many people were involved in decision-making in Europe? How many emperors, kings, ministers, parliamentarians, generals; not to mention academicians, journalists, poets and what not?

Were they all stupid? Were they all blind to what was happening in their countries and throughout their continent?

Impossible, one is tempted to cry out. Many of them were highly competent, intelligent people, people versed in history. They knew everything about the earlier wars that had ravaged Europe throughout the centuries.

Yet there you are. All these people played their part in causing the most terrible war (up to then) in the annals of history. An act of sheer idiocy.

The human mind cannot accept such a truth. There must be other reasons. Profound reasons. So they wrote innumerable books explaining why this was logical, why it had to happen, what were the "underlying" causes.

Most of these theories are certainly plausible. But compared to the effects, they are puny. Millions of human beings marched out to be slaughtered, singing and almost dancing, trusting their emperor, king, president, commander-in-chief. Never to return.

Could all these leaders be idiots? They certainly could. And were.

I DON'T need the examples of the thousands of foreign wars and conflicts, because I live in the middle of one right now.

Never mind how it came about, the present situation is that in the land that used to be called Palestine there live two peoples of different origin, culture, history, religion, language, standard of living and much more. They are now of more or less equal size.

Between these two peoples, a conflict has now been going on for more than a century.

In theory, there are only two reasonable solutions: either the two peoples shall live together as equal citizens in one state, or they shall live side by side in two states.

The third possibility is no solution - eternal conflict, eternal war.

This is so obvious, so simple, that denying it is sheer idiocy.

Living together in one state sounds logical, but is not. It is a recipe for constant conflict and internal war. So there remains only what is called "two states for two peoples".

When I pointed this out, right after the 1948 war, the war in which Israel was founded, I was more or less alone. Now this is a world-wide consensus, everywhere except in Israel.

What is the alternative? There is none. Just going on with the present situation: a colonial state in which 7 million Israeli Jews oppress 7 million Palestinian Arabs. Logic says that this is a situation that cannot go on forever. Sooner or later it will break down.

So what do our leaders say? Nothing. They pretend to be oblivious to this truth.

At the top of the pyramid we have a leader who looks intelligent, who speaks well, who seems competent. In fact, Binyamin Netanyahu is a mediocre politician, without vision, without depth. He does not even pretend that he has another solution. Nor do his colleagues and possible heirs.

So what is this? I am sorry to have to say it, but there is no other definition than the rule of idiocy.
(c) 2017 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Baltimore Police Throw Constitution Out The Window
By Glen Ford

The Baltimore police department seems to have learned nothing from the civil disturbances that rocked the city after Freddie Gray died in police custody back in 2015. Six cops got off scot-free for killing Gray -- which seems to have led the police to conclude that they can treat the Black community as a Constitution-Free Zone, where anything the cops do is legal.

Baltimore is 63 percent Black. Its elected officials are mostly Black, and its police force is majority Black and Hispanic. So, what we're seeing in Baltimore is how a plantation operates when the white folks leave the Black overseers in charge. What we find is, the Black Misleadership Class and the Black police are nothing more than servants of white supremacy, and have no respect for the rights of Black citizens.

Last week, a Black police detective was shot to death in the Harlem Park section of west Baltimore. The police declared the entire neighborhood a "crime scene" and locked down every street and sidewalk for blocks around. Residents were patted down, coming and going into the neighborhood, and required to show little pieces of paper from police vouching that they were residents. If you couldn't show you lived in Harlem Park, you couldn't get in, even to visit relatives. Checkpoints were everywhere, and residents were questioned, over and over again, about the identity of the shooter. All this is blatantly unconstitutional - which means, it's a massive police crime against the people. As the local American Civil Liberties Union said, even when police are in "hot pursuit" of a criminal suspect, they cannot treat a whole neighborhood like criminals. Constitutional protections cannot be suspended for the convenience of police investigators. For that, you need a declaration of martial law. When the cops designated all of Harlem Park a crime scene they were, in effect, declaring the neighborhood to be outside the protection of the U.S. Constitution.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, a city, or a nation that is partially Constitution-free, cannot stand. From the founding of the United States, to the Dred Scott decision, through a century of Jim Crow injustice, U.S. police forces have treated Black communities as outside the reach of Constitutional law. The so-called War on Drugs saw the designation of large sections of U.S. cities as drug zones, within which everyone was considered suspect, simply by virtue of their presence. In some cities, the entire Black community is located within these designated "drug zones." That means, the Constitution does not exist for Black people in those cities.

Many of these urban areas proudly call themselves "sanctuary cities." Sanctuaries for whom? In Baltimore's Harlem Park, for almost a week, there was no sanctuary from the armed and dangerous gunmen in blue. And, if the cops can take your rights away any time they feel like it, then you never really had those rights at all.

The dragnet is said to have ended in Harlem Park, but the Constitution is definitely not in effect.
(c) 2017 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions leaves for a short break during a
hearing before the House Judiciary Committee November 14, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Worse Than Jeff Sessions? Let's Not Find Out
By William Rivers Pitt

I am coming to believe that Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Lee Sumpter Shiloh Segregation Sessions III is not actually human, but is in fact a subspace anomaly of the Star Trek variety. These anomalies are known to cause irregularities in gravity, ripples in space and alterations in the laws of physics. In short, their very presence makes things weird. Sound about exactly like what's been going on at the Justice Department for the last year, and it just got a whole lot weirder.

Consider: Sessions, an as-advertised racist, misogynist son of the Confederacy, was happily ensconced in what was, by any metric, a lifetime gig as a senator from Alabama. Along came candidate Trump, so Sessions jumped on board and was named attorney general after the strangest presidential election in the history of matter.

There was great rejoicing in white supremacist circles everywhere upon Sessions' appointment, until he abruptly chose to recuse himself from any and all investigations into Trump's dealings with Russia. Trump went berserk with rage upon this seeming betrayal, and has, from time to time since, made it his mission in life to do Sessions harm, in what is nothing, more or less, that yet another expression of the permanent vengeance motive that gets him out of bed every day.

It is worthwhile to note that here, right here, stands one of the tender few moments in Sessions' tenure as attorney general, when he actually, marginally fulfilled the moral requirements of his station. Given his involvement with the campaign, he had no recourse but to recuse himself from all things Russia ... unless he chose to go rogue, fling propriety over the dunes and charge ahead. Like as not, he would have gotten away with it given the current congressional realities, but for whatever reason, he played it straight. In doing so, he deprived Trump of a hole card he'd been counting on, and the presidential wrath in the aftermath has hedged the biblical in scope.

Still left to address was the Alabama Senate seat left open by Sessions' appointment. The GOP rustled up a candidate from central casting named Luther Strange, but the Steve Bannon wing of the party had other ideas, and one of them was a former Alabama state judge named Roy Moore. Moore's wild-eyed, right-wing pedigree has been well documented since he fell on his sword to protect a giant Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse, and since he refused to uphold laws granting equal rights for LGBTQ people because Jesus, or something.

In another short span of time, Moore won the primary to become the GOP's nominee to replace Sessions in the Senate. Then a number of women -- five at this point -- came forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers. Reports began to surface that Moore's taste for young girls was commonly known, and that he'd even been banned from a mall for aggressively pursuing teenagers. Then Moore painted himself as a martyr and victim while his defenders compared his behavior to Joseph, stepdad of Jesus Christ.

When the assault accusations became public, the GOP practically snapped its collective fibulas trying to kick Moore off the ticket, or barring that, find a write-in candidate to challenge him for Republican votes in the December special election ... and just when you thought the quota of weird for this story had been amply filled, along came Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday with a timely suggestion.

As leader of an already-fractious and unmanageable majority, McConnell has a personal vested interest in keeping Moore as far away from the chamber as possible. Sessions, according to McConnell on Tuesday, "fits the mold of somebody who might be able to pull off a write-in. Obviously, it would be a big move for him and for the president."

To recap: Sessions was an Alabama senator, then supported Trump, then became Trump's attorney general, then pissed Trump off with his recusal, then periodically absorbed massive public derision from Trump to the point that he had to insist he wasn't quitting and now the Senate majority leader is floating him as the savior of the GOP by advocating that he return home to defend his old seat from a theocratic fascist facing numerous allegations of sexual violence.

This isn't just some goofy trial balloon, either. According to McConnell, "It's an issue they [Sessions and Trump] are discussing in great detail."

Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican Party.

The truly weird part, the part that leads me to believe Jefferson Beauregard Wallace Pickett Secession Sessions III is actually a spatial anomaly disrupting physics itself, is this: I want him to stay right the hell where he is. Sessions is by far the worst attorney general of my lifetime, perhaps of all time, and folks, that is saying something. He can't leave to save Alabama from itself, but must remain at Justice. Why? Because hard as it may be to accept or believe, all of this can get a whole lot worse.

Before his vapid Asia trip, Trump was making a lot of angry noises about his inability to use the Justice Department to grind down and destroy political enemies and anyone else who annoys him. This was disquieting enough by itself -- the president's manifest disdain for and rank ignorance of the rule of law has reached the level of performance art by now -- but his pre-trip grousing this time made people decidedly more nervous than usual.

To make matters worse, Sessions "ordered senior prosecutors to evaluate various accusations against Hillary Clinton and report back on whether a special counsel should be appointed," according to the New York Times. The items on Trump's investigatory wish list have either been investigated to pieces already, or are little more than fever-dream conspiracies that have oozed from the brain trust at Breitbart.

All of this, of course, is a lot of hyperactive hooey ginned up by the Sean Hannitys of the world to distract and possibly disrupt Robert Mueller's increasingly intense Trump/Russia investigation. By signaling he was interested, Sessions was indicating that he might be on the verge of providing that smokescreen while actively satisfying Trump's worst fascist desires.

If the Justice Department becomes the wrath of Trump, that's pretty much the end of the line for this little constitutional experiment we've been fiddling with since the shootout on the Lexington Green. If Sessions were to let this dog slip the leash, we're done as a nation of laws.

Presidents don't give power back. What is an astonishing power grab for one president becomes the new normal for the next president, and that president's power grab becomes the new normal for the president after them. If Trump is allowed to use the vast powers of the federal justice system to chase his enemies up a tree, the practice will become commonplace under his successor. None of us wants to live in that world. It is the world of boots hammering the floorboards in the dead of night, of star chambers and the disappeared.

These grave concerns took a large step backward on Tuesday afternoon when Sessions testified before the House Intelligence Committee. The hearing was ostensibly about the glaring irregularities within Sessions' own Russia-related testimony, but the conversation veered immediately into the realm of Clinton's emails and Canadian uranium. Several of the committee members had been demanding a new special counsel investigation since July, and they wanted to know if the attorney general was going to pull the trigger.

When GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said it "looks like" the FBI and the Democratic Party had worked together on the now-infamous Trump/Russia dossier, Sessions replied, "'Looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel." Later, Sessions told Rep. Jordan, "You can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are and to evaluate whether it meets the standard that requires a special counsel." To these ears, it sounded on Tuesday afternoon as if the attorney general was telling everyone yammering about a new special counsel to go back to bed. He did not definitively slam the door on the idea, but he appeared to be about as enthusiastic about it as a cat at bath time. This is welcome news if it holds.

This is why Sessions can't go running back to Alabama. If he leaves his current post, Trump will likely appoint someone to replace him who is more blatantly in line with his authoritarian visions -- someone who could very well authorize hostile politically motivated investigations, and who could also tear up every current investigation into Russia's electoral meddling, including the all-important one being run by Mueller. Jefferson Beauregard Longstreet Dred Scott Dixie Sub-Space Sessions III is terrible by any standard, but never forget: It can always get worse.

Defining worse: Brett Talley of Alabama, who has never in his life tried a single case as an attorney, and who is married to a senior staff attorney for the Trump administration, has been nominated to a lifetime position on the federal bench. His nomination has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote, and appears ready to sail through the main body in similar fashion. No one knows anything about this wildly unqualified man, and he's about to have sway over literal life-and-death issues until his own dying day.

This is a feature, not a bug. "Trump judges are getting rushed through the confirmation process at a record pace," reports Eleanor Clift of The Daily Beast, "and they're super conservative on cultural issues, and mostly young. A lifetime appointment for someone in his or her thirties or forties is a gift that keeps on giving for three or four decades."

Why? Because these days it isn't about right or wrong, good or bad, patriotic or otherwise. It's about counting white men's noses, period. On this, the GOP has a tall advantage. Let Sessions leave for Alabama, and some yessir Republican embryo will be planted in Justice to do the Lord's bidding, such as it is.

When preventing a man like Sessions from fleeing is your "better" option for keeping a fledgling totalitarian at bay, matters have gotten far out of joint. In a perfect world, Sessions' immediate resignation would herald the beginning of an administration-wide exodus that left Donald Trump and Mike Pence counting the minutes before their own well-earned ejection from office. The low fact that Sessions must stay for now is yet another sign that, put simply, we're all in some powerfully deep shit. Bring your hip waders and pack a lunch. We're going to be at this for a bit.
(c) 2017 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Why Won't Trump Stand Up To Putin?
By Jim Hightower

As Donald Trump said: "Strange things happen in life."

Yes - like him! Take that strange bromance he's got going with his presidential counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The two recently had a private tete-a-tete, after which our president said that Russia's president had vehemently denied the findings of US intelligence agencies that Putin's hackers and tricksters ran a slew of fake news ads in our media outlets last year to help defeat Hillary Clinton. Trump said that Putin said "he absolutely did not meddle in our election."

Well, gosh, I guess Putin would deny that, wouldn't he? But Trump really, really wants to believe that his bro wouldn't fib to him. "We seem to have a very good feeling for each other," Donald said sweetly. "I believe that when [Putin] tells me that, he means it. I believe that he feels he and Russia did not meddle in the election."

"Feels?" Putin is a former KGB espionage agent, a practiced liar, and a conniving authoritarian who rules with an iron fist. He doesn't govern by his feelings, but his "feelers" - loyal operatives who make sure he knows everything that's going on. And he certainly knows that Russia did indeed mess with America's most sacred democratic principle: Free and fair elections. Moreover, he knows that by duping Donald, he's free to keep messing with our internal affairs.

Trump has zero knowledge, experience, or skills in foreign policy, and he's in way over his head when dealing with someone like Putin. Why wouldn't our president at least challenge this dangerous foreign threat to our people's democracy? "Well, look," Trump meekly replied when asked this question, "I can't stand there and argue with him."

Really? Well since you're not up to the job, please get out of the way so we can find a president who can stand there and argue with the Putins of the World.
(c) 2017 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

Ajit Pai testifies during a Senate hearing on September 15, 2016.

Donald Trump's FCC Is A Clear And Present Danger To Democracy
It's rewritten media-ownership rules to benefit giant corporations, including the pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcasting.
By John Nichols

Eighty years ago, the dawn of the modern communications age coincided with the rise of authoritarian leaders who controlled and manipulated communications in Europe. President Franklin Roosevelt recognized the danger, declaring that:

If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own. If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free. If in other lands the eternal truths of the past are threatened by intolerance, we must provide a safe place for their perpetuation.
Roosevelt and his aides were determined to guard against media-ownership structures that might place control of broadcast media in the United States in the hands of a tiny circle of elite individuals or corporations. To that end, they advocated for a muscular Federal Communications Commission that would guard against consolidation of media ownership and assure that all Americans had access to the information and ideas that sustain democracy.

The FCC was charged in 1934 with the clear mission of protecting the "public interest" from profiteers and propagandists. That mission was enhanced and extended over time. It was threatened, as well-but never so aggressively, nor so dramatically, as it is now threatened.

President Donald Trump's chair of the FCC, Ajit Pai, and the Trump-aligned majority on a commission is bent on clearing the way for precisely the sort of media monopoly that FDR and the small-"d" democrats of his time feared.

Last week, the FCC voted 3-2 for a radical rewrite of media-ownership rules that will benefit corporate conglomerates, while diminishing the character and quality of the discourse in communities across the United States. In so doing, they strengthened the hand of at least one conglomerate that is closely aligned with Trump.

Pai, who is also moving to eliminate Net Neutrality protections that serve as "the First Amendment of the Internet," portrayed Thursday's vote as an updating of "stale" regulations. But the truth was well stated by John Bergmayer, the senior counsel with the group Public Knowledge, who told CNN "the FCC did not vote to 'modernize' the rules, but rather 'to abandon them.'"

A dissenting commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, bluntly charged that, "Instead of engaging in thoughtful reform, which we should do, the agency sets its most basic values on fire. They are gone." There was no hyperbole in Rosenworcel's assessment, as watchdog groups explained.

Free Press, the nation's media-reform network, noted that:

The agency rolled back a local television-ownership rule that barred a broadcaster from owning multiple stations in smaller local markets and weakened the standards against owning more than one top-rated station in the same market.
(c) 2017 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Thanksgiving 2017 - Some Thoughts
By James Donahue

It is time once again for Americans to gather with friends and family members to feast and give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon them during the year. At least that is the image we have always had about the Thanksgiving Holiday. It has traditionally been a celebration at the end of the harvest, when the larders are supposedly filled with food stored for the looming winter months.

But alas, the picture is very bleak again this year for many Americans. It is no secret that the nation is in deep economic despair. We have elected a fool for a "president" who clearly represents wealthy mob bosses. There are many people out of work, or struggling to make ends meet on part time employment at such low wages they cannot pay their way.

At the same time the built-in financial nets like food stamps and unemployment benefits designed to fill the gaps for the masses are threatened. Right-wing Republican legislators are in lock step with Mr. Trump who calls for an end to all forms of socialization. Thus even Social Security and Medicare are under threat. Public schools and even the postal service are in question.

Because of big corporate greed and corruption the banks and lending institutions have been foreclosing on millions of homes, forcing people to move in with friends, relatives, or to live on the street. Rent has become so costly that workers are forced to share what housing they can find just to have a roof over their heads.

There is a startling number of homeless people living on the streets, in vacant buildings and in underground tunnels everywhere. There will be no celebration of a bountiful harvest today for these Americans.

With our government in apparent gridlock, with our nation still locked in war, with thousands of citizens in the streets in protest, with world resources running out, and with the pollution of our current materialistic way of life bringing on drastic climate changes that threaten our food supply, our air and the water we drink, what thankfulness can we truly generate within the spirit of this day?

Americans are facing a dire future unless this situation can be drastically changed. The hope lies in a world-wide underground movement to challenge the aging capitalistic system and replace it with a new form of socialism where resources are fairly divided evenly among all.

But when we look back in history and think about the conditions the first European settlers faced when they held that first feast of thanksgiving, conditions were even worse. They were newcomers to a wild, new land. They were living among a native people who looked, dressed and lived in a radically different way. They were a mixture of Christians and natives of a radically different spiritual pathway. Yet the natives were introducing the new settlers to new crops like maze and squash, and teaching them not only how to grow them, but possibly to prepare them as food on the table. It was a strange and terrifying new world. Not all of the newcomers would survive that looming winter. But they all gathered to celebrate the harvest. My late wife Doris, our daughter Jennifer and I shared a vivid memory of a Thanksgiving we spent with strangers in Arizona at a strange time in 1995 when we found ourselves homeless, out of work, and unsure of our future. We had sold our Michigan home, paid off all of debts, and set off on what we thought was going to be a new life on the Hopi/Navajo reservations in Arizona. A government hospital job that my wife had been promised, complete with a furnished home on the Hopi Reservation collapsed while we were in the midst of the move. This happened because of a budget battle between Congressional Republicans and Democratic President Bill Clinton, much like the fight going on in Washington today. Clinton called for a spending freeze. That meant no new employees could be hired. We found ourselves caught in Arizona without a home and without an income.

We found refuge in a dilapidated old motel located on a branch of the old Route 66 just outside Holbrook, Arizona. It was owned by a man and his wife who were duped into buying the place as a "business opportunity" after they retired and moved to Arizona from Chicago. He was so desperate for income that he was renting the rooms for something like $100 a month or $12 a day. The place became a haven for homeless derelicts. Some who shared that place were drifters. Others were hiding out from the law.

We were all there on Thanksgiving that year. We had a small kitchenette linked to the room we rented with a stove with only two electric burners that worked. We had a large microwave among the things we brought with us from Michigan, and Doris magically used that to prepare a turkey. The owners of the motel used their kitchen to furnish other dishes. We set up tables in one of the empty motel rooms and the landlord furnished a large restaurant sized coffee maker. Collectively we put together a holiday meal and invited everybody in the motel to participate.

That Thanksgiving meal remains well etched in my memory to this day. Like the pilgrims to the new land, we were seated at a table with total strangers, even a Navajo medicine man and his wife, and together we gave thanks for the food we had before us and the opportunity we had to be living in America.

That same opportunity remains with us today. There are truly dark clouds on the horizon, but has there ever been a time when Americans have not been faced with trouble? We have always weathered the storms of the past. I somehow have confidence that we can do it again.
(c) 2017 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

Mannequins covered in oil and large scale political murals cover Bobby Pitre's Southern Sting tattoo parlor
located in Larose, LA, along a road leading to Grand Isle, and home to hundreds of out of work Gulf fishermen, on June 7, 2010.

A Partisanship Of The Heart: Interior Measures Towards A Re-Visioning Of Capitalism's Imperium Of Death
We human beings, as a species, have arrived at a profound point of demarcation: paradigm shift or perish.
By Phil Rockstroh

According to a nationwide study conducted by the Center For Disease And Prevention (CDC) a greater number of US Americans died (approximately 65,000) from drug overdoses, last year, than were killed during the course of the Vietnam War.

All part and parcel of capitalism's war against life itself. The emotional and physical pain, anxiety, and depression inflicted by the trauma inherent to a system sustained by perpetual exploitation has proven to be too much for a sizeable number of human beings to endure thus their need to self-medicate.

The root of addiction is trauma. The soul of the nation is a casualty of war. There is not an Arlington Cemetery for these fallen, no hagiographic ceremonies will be performed over their graves nor statues erected in memoriam. Their ghosts will howl through the long, dark night of national denial. Listen to their wailing. It is an imprecatory prayer. A curse and augury...that admonishes, our fate and the fate of the nation will the nation will stagger, keening in lament, to the abyss.

The solution: Within each of us swells a deathless song. Powerful. Resonate. Piercing. A song, miraculous of influence, plangent with the force to seize back your soul from the death-besotted spirit of the age. Let it rise from within you. Notice: how flocks of empire's death birds scatter like ashes in the wind.

Yet it will not be possible to navigate around the cultural deathscape; we must walk through it and chronicle its serial affronts to our humanity:

"You have to see that the buildings are anorexic, you have to see that the language is schizogenic, that 'normalcy' is manic, and medicine and business are paranoid." -- James Hillman
Try this: Simply stand in the isle of a corporate, Big Box chain store or in the parking lot of a strip mall that squats, hideous, on some soul-defying, U.S. Interstate highway and allow yourself to feel the emptiness and desperation extant. The tormented landscape, besieged by an ad hoc assemblage of late capitalist structures, emporiums of usurped longing, reflects the desperate, rapacious nature of late capitalist imperium.

Compounding the pathos, the forces in play impose a colonising effect upon the mind; therefore, a large percent of the afflicted have lost the ability to detect the hyper-entropic system's ravaging effects. Stranded among the commercial come-ons and hyper-authoritarianism inherent to late stage capitalism's imperium of death, the human psyche, like the biosphere of our planet, subjected, at present, to humankind-wrought ecocide, has begun to display the terrible beauty of a nightmare. Internal weather has grown increasingly chaotic: the earth's oceans and seas are rising; wildfires rage; drought scorches the earth. And conditions will grow increasingly inhospitable in regard to the flourishing of inner life, personal and collective thus will continue, and at accelerating rates, to be reflected in the web of phenomena we know as human culture.

Growing up in a working class social milieu, as I did, I am confronted, more and more, by the news of the large number of men I grew up with who are dying in their 50s. As of late, when I contemplate the fact, I am forced to pause and seek solitude because my eyes become scalded with tears. I've known, over the years, hundreds of human beings, born into and ensnared by the crime against humanity known as poverty, broken by the culture of greed and social degradation, and blamed by the clueless and the callous for the tragic trajectory in which impersonal fate and the wounding culture, by no fault of their own, has placed them.

Thus arrive: Tears of rage; tears of outrage. Tears unloosed by passion and tempered by compassion...fall. If poverty was not so profitable for the greed head elite, both punitive-minded conservatives and affluence-ensconced liberals alike, the situation would be addressed and rectified. The cause of the reprehensible situation, it should go without saying, is not the fault of the poor but the poverty of spirit at the core of capitalism.

Truth is, the system, a hierarchy of ghouls, is maintained by harvesting the corpses of the powerless, by means of imperial slaughter and domestic, economic exploitation. Deep down, we know it. The system's psychopathic beneficiaries, in particular, are aware of the reality. In fact, their desiccated hearts require being irrigated by blood. From the evidence of their actions, it appears, they revel in the knowledge of the damage they incur. They appear to believe they will enter the golden dominion of heaven by climbing a mountain of corpses. It is time we dragged them back down to earth and subjected them to our earth-borne fury.

Or so goes my own (powerless) revelry. Of course, we the powerless, at this point, have been left with scant little but a dreaming heart. When we allow heartless power to subdue and usurp our longings, we languish. Thus many die of a broken spirit. The world itself can appear to be depleted of mercy. In turn, all too many begin to mirror the malevolence of the upper castes thereby losing their own measure of mercy.

Hostility directed at the poor is the shopworn, demagogic sleight of hand trick used to distract from realities such as: Every mcmansion and high end luxury high-rise constructed creates multitudes of the homeless. Every low pay, no benefits, no future mcjob serves to decimate an individual, heart and spirit. Moreover the beneficiaries of the system promote the lie, that shame should be the exclusive dominion of those broken by their system, a system, which is, in essence, a form of government-sanctioned gangsterism, by which they, the ruthless few, and they alone, benefit.

As a result, in an age of denial and duplicity, change tends to arrive violently. Reactionary, racist soreheads, brandishing Tiki torches, construct an ambulatory klavern in the hateful night. Maledictory tweets rise and roil the imperial air like a nimbus of locust. Unmoored from their sense of humanity by lashing angst and alienation, gunmen, in acts of warped libido, raise assault rifles and kill with no more connection to the strangers they slaughter than do stateside deployed pilots of the empire's predator drones.

We human beings, as a species, have arrived at a profound point of demarcation: paradigm shift or perish. Yet, and the fact is mortifying in its implications, there is not a sign of the emergence, even an incipient one, of a viable resistance to the present order. Weekend marches and boutique protests might promote (ephemeral) feelings of affinity and jack the adrenal systems of participants. But the events have proven woefully inefficacious in regard to the rising and raging tides of adversity we face.

(In addition, monopolist, internet corporations, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, at the behest of US governmental forces, are further marginalising the already almost vaporous left by means of presence abridging algorithms of leftist websites and outright censorship of social media content. Dissenting voices are being ghosted into oblivion.)

An aura of bleakness prevails. Hope seems a fool's palliative. The victims of drug overdoses and, in general, the large and rising, without precedent, untimely deaths of middle aged, labouring class people should be regarded as canaries in the coal mines of the late stage capitalist order, an augury of calamities that loom due to the exponentially increasing harm being inflicted upon both humanity and environmental forces crucial to sustaining the continued viability of the human race.

"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - C.G. Jung
Although it does not have to be the case. If reality is met head-on, if empire, external and its inner analog, is renounced and challenged, then a liberation staged by the heart's partisans can begin, thereby freeing up a great amount of acreage - a fructifying landscape - wherein both the earth's ecosystem and the architecture of human desire can begin to co-exist and cross-pollinate thus a crucial re-visioning of oneself and the culture can begin.
(c) 2017 Phil Rockstroh, is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in Munich, Germany. Visit Phil at FaceBook.

Inside The Dossier
By Heather Digby Parton

The Guardian's Luke Harding has written a book about how Trump walked into Putin's web. This long read about "the inside story of how a former British spy was hired to investigate Russia's influence on Trump - and uncovered explosive evidence that Moscow had been cultivating Trump for years" is well worth your time.

Here is an excerpt about the dossier:

After Trump became the presumptive nominee in May 2016, Singer's involvement ended and senior Democrats seeking to elect Hillary Clinton took over the Trump contract. The new client was the Democratic National Committee. A lawyer working for Clinton's campaign, Marc E Elias, retained Fusion and received its reports. The world of private investigation was a morally ambiguous one - a sort of open market in dirt. Information on Trump was of no further use to Republicans, but it could be of value to Democrats, Trump's next set of opponents.

Before this, in early spring 2016, Simpson approached Steele, his friend and colleague. Steele began to scrutinise Paul Manafort, who would soon become Trump's new campaign manager. From April, Steele investigated Trump on behalf of the DNC, Fusion's anonymous client. All Steele knew at first was that the client was a law firm. He had no idea what he would find. He later told David Corn, Washington editor of the magazine Mother Jones: "It started off as a fairly general inquiry." Trump's organisation owned luxury hotels around the world. Trump had, as far back as 1987, sought to do real estate deals in Moscow. One obvious question for him, Steele said, was: "Are there business ties to Russia?"

Over time, Steele had built up a network of sources. He was protective of them: who they were he would never say. It could be someone well-known - a foreign government official or diplomat with access to secret material. Or it could be someone obscure - a lowly chambermaid cleaning the penthouse suite and emptying the bins in a five-star hotel.

Normally an intelligence officer would debrief sources directly, but since Steele could no longer visit Russia, this had to be done by others, or in third countries. There were intermediaries, subsources, operators - a sensitive chain. Only one of Steele's sources on Trump knew of Steele. Steele put out his Trump-Russia query and waited for answers. His sources started reporting back. The information was astonishing; "hair-raising". As he told friends: "For anyone who reads it, this is a life-changing experience."

Steele had stumbled upon a well-advanced conspiracy that went beyond anything he had discovered with Litvinenko or Fifa. It was the boldest plot yet. It involved the Kremlin and Trump. Their relationship, Steele's sources claimed, went back a long way. For at least the past five years, Russian intelligence had been secretly cultivating Trump. This operation had succeeded beyond Moscow's wildest expectations. Not only had Trump upended political debate in the US - raining chaos wherever he went and winning the nomination - but it was just possible that he might become the next president. This opened all sorts of intriguing options for Putin.

In June 2016, Steele typed up his first memo. He sent it to Fusion. It arrived via enciphered mail. The headline read: US Presidential Election: Republican Candidate Donald Trump's Activities in Russia and Compromising Relationship with the Kremlin. Its text began: "Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in the western alliance."

"So far TRUMP has declined various sweetener real estate business deals, offered him in Russia to further the Kremlin's cultivation of him. However he and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.

"Former top Russian intelligence officer claims FSB has compromised TRUMP through his activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him. According to several knowledgeable sources, his conduct in Moscow has included perverted sexual acts which have been arranged/monitored by the FSB.

"A dossier of compromising material on Hillary CLINTON has been collated by the Russian Intelligence Services over many years and mainly comprises bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls rather than any embarrassing conduct. The dossier is controlled by Kremlin spokesman, PESKOV, directly on Putin's orders. However, it has not yet been distributed abroad, including to TRUMP. Russian intentions for its deployment still unclear."

The memo was sensational. There would be others, 16 in all, sent to Fusion between June and early November 2016.

Vanity Fair noticed one particular little bread crumb:
In December of last year, Steele informed Luke Harding, a journalist for the Guardian, that "the contracts for the hotel deals and land deals" between Trump and individuals with the Kremlin ties warrant investigation. "Check their values against the money Trump secured via loans," the former spy said, according to a conversation detailed in Harding's new book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. "The difference is what's important."

According to his book, Steele did not elaborate on this point to Harding, but his implication was clear: it's possible that Trump was indebted to Russian interests when he descended Trump Tower's golden escalator to declare his candidacy. After the real-estate mogul suffered a series of bankruptcies related to the 2008 financial crisis, traditional banks became reluctant to loan him money-a reality he has acknowledged in past interviews. As a result, the Trump Organization reportedly became increasingly reliant on foreign investors, notably Russian ones. As Donald Trump Jr. famously said in 2008, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."

The significance of such transactions is not lost on Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Citing a person familiar with the F.B.I. probe, Bloomberg reported in July that Mueller's team is investigating a series of deals Trump struck, including the Trump Organization's failed SoHo development that involved Russian nationals, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and the president's sale of a Palm Beach estate in 2008. All three deals have drawn scrutiny for their ties to Russian interests; as Craig Unger outlined for the Hive, the 2014 Trump SoHo development is likely of interest to Mueller thanks to the involvement of Felix Sater-a Moscow-born, Russian-American businessman who did time for stabbing a man in the face with a margarita glass-and the now-defunct company he worked for, the Bayrock Group. Similarly, Russian developer Aras Agalarov, whose son Emin helped broker the controversial Trump Tower meeting last June between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, paid $20 million to bring Miss Universe to Moscow. And Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the Florida mansion for a staggering sum of $95 million in 2008-despite Trump having paid just $41 million for the property four years prior.

Trump has cautioned that he would view any attempt by Mueller to dig into his past business deals as out of bounds. But the former F.B.I. director has a broad mandate from the D.O.J. to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign" and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation"-suggesting that Trump's deals with Russians fall under Mueller's purview. Nor is Mueller's tack in following the money limited to Trump. The indictments the special prosecutor brought against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy and longtime business associate Rick Gates included conspiracy to launder money and seven counts of improper foreign banking and financial reporting. (Both Manafort and Gate have denied the charges.)

Since media outlets published the Steele dossier last January, Republican lawmakers and conservative pundits alike have sought to discredit it. In recent weeks, Trumpworld has latched onto the revelation that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign indirectly bankrolled Steele's investigative work-which he conducted for Washington-based intelligence firm Fusion G.P.S.-through the law firm Perkins Coie. They have argued that the dossier's origins not only make it invalid, but are indicative of a larger anti-Trump conspiracy. Steele, however, stands by his work. While the former MI6 agent acknowledged that no piece of intelligence is 100 percent airtight, Harding noted that Steele told friends he believes the 16 memos he delivered to Fusion to be "70 to 90 percent accurate."

MSNBC is reporting that Rob Goldstone, the publicist who set up the Trump Tower meeting and helped arrange the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013 is going to be speaking with Mueller soon. I'd imagine he'll be quite the interesting witness.
(c) 2017 Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

A view of the Peace River Valley. A 100-kilometre stretch of this valley would be flooded if the Site C dam is built

Site C Exposes Economic Folly Of Flooding Farmland
By David Suzuki

As many countries move away from big hydro projects, B.C.'s government must decide whether to continue work on the Site C dam. The controversial megaproject would flood a 100-kilometre stretch of the Peace River Valley and provide enough power for the equivalent of about 500,000 homes. The BC Utilities Commission, an independent body responsible for ensuring British Columbians pay fair energy rates, found the dam is likely behind schedule and over budget, with completion costs estimated at more than $10 billion. In a "high impact" scenario, it may go over budget by as much as 50 per cent. The dam has faced court challenges and political actions by Treaty 8 First Nations and farmers whose land would be flooded. Treaty 8 First Nations stand to lose hunting and fishing grounds, burial sites and other areas vital to their culture and sustenance. West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations demonstrated the devastating environmental impacts Site C will have.

The Peace Valley's land and waters are an integral part of First Nations' identity, stories, songs and language. An open letter opposing the project, signed by 27 people and groups, including Amnesty International, says the project betrays Canada's commitment under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Consent from affected Indigenous Peoples is required for developments such as megadams, yet the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations did not give consent.

BC Hydro's economic analysis also ignored ecosystems and the benefits they provide. The David Suzuki Foundation estimates ecosystem services from farmland, wetland and other natural capital in the Peace watershed are conservatively worth $7.9 billion to $8.6 billion a year. Services that sustain the health and well-being of local communities include air and water filtration, erosion control, recreational services and wildlife habitat. The replacement value of what will be lost by flooding far exceeds the dam's economic returns. Failure to account for the loss of ecosystem services puts us on a destructive course and undervalues natural capital in regulatory decisions.

Alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal, leveraging existing projects and prioritizing localized generation could be as good - or better - for B.C. ratepayers as the megadam. Alternative energy has the advantage of being able to be timed for when it's needed. Additional generation capacity may not even be necessary because BC Hydro currently exports or sells a significant amount of power, often at a loss, outside the province.

Serious concerns are also being raised about production and release of methylmercury from soil. When land is flooded, naturally occurring soil bacteria can convert mercury to methylmercury, a toxic compound that can move up the food chain and potentially harm human health. Modelling projections for Muskrat Falls dam on the lower Churchill River indicate flooding likely will increase methylmercury 10-fold in the dammed river and 2.6-fold in surface waters downstream. Methylmercury concerns loom at 22 major dams now proposed or under construction close to Indigenous communities in Canada, including Site C.

The area to be flooded is some of the North's most arable farmland. Agrologist Wendy Holm estimates this breadbasket can feed a million people in the region, an important feature as climate change alters growing seasons and demands more local food systems.

Dams now supply about three-fifths of Canada's electricity. A long-held belief that big hydro projects are the most economically sustainable energy options is fast losing support as renewable energy costs plummet and projects multiply worldwide. The Peace Valley has an incredible ability to generate natural wealth if protected from development. The alternative is ecological fragmentation.

Economic scrutiny of Site C was long overdue but only answers some questions about hydro megaprojects. We can't elevate the economy above what we need to survive. Humans are now the primary factor altering the physical, chemical and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale. Building more megadams epitomizes the folly of our ways.

The Site C dam should never have been approved. Continuing construction is bad public policy, and it's not too late to halt it. Canada must join other nations and stop the destructive, unnecessary practice of damming major rivers and running roughshod over Indigenous rights and title. Lower impact renewable energy, like wind, solar and geothermal, look better every day.
(c) 2017 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Neil Gorsuch Is Making Antonin Scalia Look Like Mother Theresa
By Charles P. Pierce

Back in 2004, President George W. Bush made a funny at a banquet about the weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist, but that he'd sent other people's kids to die looking for anyway. What a funny man.

On Friday, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III made a funny at a banquet about meetings with the Russians that he may or may not have fibbed about under oath before a Senate committee. From Bloomberg:

"Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room," Sessions said Friday, referring to the former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. "Any Russians? Has anybody been to Russia? Got a cousin in Russia?" Sessions asked at a conference of lawyers hosted by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization. His comments received a roaring ovation. What a funny man.
In all this hilarity, you might have been wondering if Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was still being a dick these days? Wonder no longer, dear friends. Justice Neil is continuing his headlong sprint to make people forget what a dick Antonin Scalia was. From Think Progress:
One, the law is telling me to do something really, really stupid. Two, the law is constitutional and I have no choice but to do that really stupid thing the law demands. And three, when it's done, everyone who is not a lawyer is going to think I just hate truckers.
The gentleman's name was Alphonse Maddin, and he nearly froze to death in the incident that Gorsuch now finds such a hoot. Gorsuch's dissent was based essentially on the notion that Maddin should have stayed with his crippled rig until he died. Now, it's a punchline for the Federalist Society. What a funny man.

Jesus, these really are the fcking mole people.

It doesn't matter, though, because we're all freaking doomed. From BioScience:

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse (figure 1, file S1). Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels (Hansen et al. 2013), deforestation (Keenan et al. 2015), and agricultural production-particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption (Ripple et al. 2014). Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.

Humanity is now being given a second notice, as illustrated by these alarming trends (figure 1). We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats (Crist et al. 2017). By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.

This is our second notice before Nature forecloses.

I am told by people I respect greatly-and by people I don't respect at all-that it is time for Democrats and liberals to "reckon" with the continued existence of Bill Clinton in our public life. Part of the reckoning appears to be a retroactive opinion that Bill Clinton should have resigned in 1998. This is a bold position to take since there is absolutely no downside to taking it in 2017. Senator Kristen Gillibrand, her eyes squarely on the prize, is the most recent Democrat to chime in. In 1998, however, this would have paved the way for Tom DeLay and the Republican fire-eaters in the House to impeach President Al Gore on charges that he sold the 1996 presidential campaign to the Chinese.

It was a very strange time to be an American. While it certainly would look noble in retrospect, a Clinton resignation in 1998 would have been a signal victory for some of the worst people in American politics, the same people who are not many votes away at the moment from their final victory over legitimate self-government. And now, the Democrats are willing to submit not only women, but old folks, poor folks, people of color, LGBT folks, the mentally ill, the drug addicted, and the children of people whose only sin was their yearning to be free to what ever indignities the Republicans want to inflict not only on their bodies but on their their minds.

Donald Trump learned the hard way that it's not possible to weaponize Clinton's past. When he brought Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, and Paula Jones to the presidential debate in St. Louis, his cheap political trick only served to cheapen the women, and their stories. The idea that Impeachment Survivor Bill Clinton is now going to be held personally accountable for his transgressions is ludicrous. But if the Democrats keep this up, a lot of people are going to be asked to pay for his sins.

If that makes me insensitive, I'm sorry. But what are the Democrats supposed to do now in their reckoning? Maybe they should nominate a woman for president? No, wait...
(c) 2017 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote...

"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death."
~~~ Adolf Hitler

Are Tweets Making Everyone Twits?
By David Swanson

Childish oversimplification seems to be spreading throughout public discourse. Maybe it's the character limits on tweets. Maybe it's the second limits between commercials. Maybe it's two-party politics. Maybe it's an excess of information. Maybe it's presidential example. Maybe it is, in fact, thousands of different things, because reality is actually very complicated.

In any case, the phenomenon I'm observing has been growing for some time. I recently found a professor willing to publicly debate me on the question of whether war is ever justified. Now I'm having the hardest time finding a university willing to host the debate or even to recognize the concept of civil nonviolent debate. But where would anyone go to observe such a thing? Not television. Not most text journalism. Not social media.

"There's no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans."

"The Democrats and the Republicans have nothing in common."

These are both ridiculously stupid statements, as are these:

"Women always tell the truth about sexual assault."

"Women always lie about sexual assault."

It's not new for people to oversimplify, exaggerate, or create straw man arguments. It's not new to try to correct a perceived misconception in one direction by declaring an absurd absolutism in the other direction. What's new, I think, is the degree to which statements are shortened by time constraints and the limitations of the medium used, and the degree to which swearing by the resulting ridiculous position is made a matter of principle.

Take the example of current U.S. discussions of sexual assault and harassment as possibly the most extreme case. The big story seems to me to be that something wonderful is happening. A widespread injustice is being exposed and stigmatized and possibly reduced going forward.

That doesn't change any of these other indisputable facts:

Some people will be falsely accused, and studies showing a large percentage of accusations to be true won't seem like much consolation to them.

Some people being held accountable for sexual harassment are demonstrably guilty of things like promoting war, making movies that glorify murder, producing rightwing propaganda, and creating public policies that have harmed millions; in an ideal world they might be held accountable for some of those other outrages too.

Some people guilty of sexual harassment are otherwise very nice people in many ways. Some really are not.

Some people guilty of sexual harassment or assault have begun and ended that behavior at identifiable moments in their lives.

Some people hype or downplay alleged offenses for partisan reasons, especially alleged offenses by people named Clinton or Trump.

Some people pushing back against change are women, some men. If you must pick a team, it should be the team in favor of truth and respect and kindness.

A wave is simply how social change often works, not an orchestrated conspiracy of lies.

Most people who have known of crimes or offenses and stayed silent have had reasons to, including the expectation of not being heard, as demonstrated by the fact that many of them didn't actually stay silent. We just didn't hear them. That general truth doesn't eliminate the existence of cowardice in various cases.

Most accusers of non-prominent individuals are still not heard by the public at large.

But most non-prominent individuals are quickly arrested and charged with a crime on the basis of a single accusation.

Most prominent individuals, once accused, are publicly shamed, sometimes removed from their jobs, sometimes their careers ruined, but they are never charged with any crime.

Pay offs to keep silent are a privilege of the wealthy and powerful, while also being a form of restorative justice denied to most victims and their abusers.

Those punished by the U.S. system of incarceration are punished brutally and counterproductively, in no way rehabilitated. A large percentage of sexual assaults in the United States takes place inside "correctional" facilities.

Nothing about someone's past impacts the credibility of their claims or the value of their claims other than their record of truth telling and lying.

Some crimes and abuses are far worse than others, but the lesser outrages are still outrages. A greater crime doesn't excuse or redeem a lesser one.

Neither does the growing volume of reported crimes render each individual crime less awful.
(c) 2017 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer has a battle ahead in the 2018 midterm elections.

National Democratic Party - Pole Vaulting Back Into Place
So what's the plan for the Democratic Party? Looks a lot like the old plan.
By Ralph Nader

Seeking to capitalize on the Republicans' disarray, public cruelty and Trumpitis, the Democratic Party is gearing up for the Congressional elections of 2018. Alas, party leaders are likely to enlist the same old cast and crew.

The Democratic National Committee and their state imitators are raising money from the same old big donors and PACs that are complicit in the Party's chronic history of losing so many Congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative races-not to mention the White House.

The large, embattled unions are preparing to spend millions on television ads and unimaginative get-out-the-vote efforts, without demanding fresh pro-worker/pro-union agendas from the Democratic politicians they regularly endorse.

The same old political consulting firms, which also consult profitably for corporations, are revving up their defeat-prone tactics and readying their practice of blaming the candidates-their clients-when their strategies and lucrative ad buys don't work.

The Party's scapegoating machine remains well-oiled. To explain why they cannot defeat the cruelest, most plutocratic, anti-worker , anti-consumer, anti-environment, anti-patient Republican Party in history, the woeful party leaders blame gerrymandering (in which they also engage), the Green Party, the Koch Brothers, voter suppression, "lying" Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the "Red States," and more.

So what's the plan for the Democratic Party? Their new slogan, developed at some cost by political consultants, is, "A Better Deal." Mention this to Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), a leading Democrat in the House of Representatives, and you'll hear scorn and ridicule.

Major Democratic operatives and leaders flocked last week to the posh La Costa Resort in Southern California to discuss the Democracy Alliance's theme of "Beyond Resistance: Reclaiming our Progressive Future."

Aside from their usual avoidance of taboo subjects such as the corporate crime wave's ravaging of workers, consumers and the poor, or the need for a "universal basic income," (something which was supported in the nineteen seventies by no less than President Richard Nixon and market fundamentalist economist Milton Friedman-for more information visit what were the Democratic strategists doing in this ostentatious venue?

A super wealthy waterhole like La Costa Resort with its spas, pools and golf courses is not a place that signals solidarity with the working class. But then what can be expected of a party that has let the Republicans seize control and power over the interpretation of the Flag, the Bible and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Trenchant and prescient criticism of the Democratic Party by its own prime loyalists goes back many years. In 1970, John Kenneth Galbraith, eminent economist, author and adviser to John F. Kennedy, wrote an article for Harper's, warning about the decline of the Party's representation of the people's interest. Twenty years later, Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, wrote a column in the Washington Post calling the Democratic Party "dead."

It was in the Seventies that the Democratic Party started abandoning the South and pursuing a blue-state focus in Presidential campaigns. This geographic neglect atrophied the party all the way down to local races. Presently, the Democrats are paying the price in their inability to support the campaign for US Senate by former prosecutor, Doug Jones, against Roy Moore, an accused the child-molester, religious hypocrite and prevaricator. This is a crucial contest in a narrowly divided Senate. In their coverage of this competitive race inside a very "red" state, the New York Times reports:

"With a fairly anemic state party, there is little existing infrastructure for routine campaign activities like phone banks or canvassing drives...There are no beloved statewide officeholders or popular party elders to rally the troops."
"He's got to do it all by himself," said a former chairman of the state Democratic Party, Mark Kennedy.

The other milestone event in 1979 that has turned into a disastrous millstone around the Democratic Party's neck was the party leadership accepting California Congressman Tony Coelho's strenuous urging that it start pushing hard for the same corporate campaign cash that the Republicans had long solicited. The full-throated devouring of cash register corporate politics was the final slide into the pit of institutional corruption for the Democrats.

If the Democrats do not compete to win in all states - blue and red, and if they do not rely on the kind of small-donor fundraising so immensely successful in Bernie Sanders's 2016 campaign, they will continue to lose elections under the failed leadership of Nancy Pelosi. She recently unfurled her mantra for 2018: "money, message and mobilization"-in that order, of course.

As former White House Counsel, Bill Curry, has repeatedly said in his incisive columns for Salon, "policy precedes message." Without authentic policies for the people of our country, "message" following "money" simply becomes the same political consultants' con game. "Mobilization" is not possible when voters feel there is no political movement prepared to work on their behalf.
(c) 2017 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book is Unstoppable, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

The Dead Letter Office...

Kay gives the corporate salute.

Heil Trump,

Dear Gouverneur Ivey,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling, and last year's winner Volksjudge John (the enforcer) Roberts.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your backing of Roy Moore's Senate run because he's a racist, bigoted, child molester, a.k.a. a Republican, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Republican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 12-31-2017. We salute you Frau Ivey, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Backlash Against The Bullies
By Robert Reich

Why are so many women now speaking out about the sexual abuses they've experienced for years? Is there anything unique about the time we're now living through that has encouraged them to end their silence?

I can't help think their decisions are part of something that's happening throughout much of American society right now - a backlash against what has been the growing domination of America by powerful and wealthy men (and a few women) who came to believe they can do whatever they want to do, to whomever they choose.

"When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab'em by the pussy," said Donald Trump in the infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape.

Sexual assault is one obvious assertion of dominance. Other forms include economic bullying and the stoking of bigotry to gain political power.

Trump epitomizes it all. As a businessman he stiffed contractors, used bankruptcy to avoid paying creditors, and wielded lawsuits to threaten critics. As a politician he gained traction by alleging Obama was born in Africa, Mexicans are rapists and murders, and Muslims must be kept out of America.

But the days of Trump and the bullying he represents are numbered. Soon after the 2016 election, hundreds of thousands of women marched against Trump, and the Resistance was born.

On November 7, Virginia Republican candidate Ed Gillespie's hate-filled Trump-style campaign for governor of Virginia collapsed in a nearly nine-point defeat to Ralph Northam. Democrats swept statewide elections in Virginia, won the New Jersey governor's race, and achieved other victories across the nation.

One of the consequences of Trump's presidency has been a sharp increase in the number of female candidates and winners. More than 20,000 women have declared themselves candidates for public office so far, according to Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily's List - an unprecedented number.

This should be the Democrat's hour, especially if they stand up against the bullies of America and stand for the millions who have been humiliated, intimidated, disenfranchised, and disempowered.

Democrats will need to gain 24 seats to take control of the House in 2018. It will be difficult, given the amount of gerrymandering and other forms of voter suppression imposed by Republican legislatures.

Nevertheless, last month Cook Political Report shifted 12 House districts in favor of Democrats, a year ahead of the 2018 midterms. A poll released at the beginning of November showed Democrats with an 11-point lead over Republicans on a generic House ballot. The Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 51 percent of registered voters said they would vote for the Democrat in their district, while 40 percent said they would vote for the Republican.

The revolt against Trump is a backlash against bullying in all its forms. Powerful and wealthy men who have felt free to impose their will on others, regardless of the pain they cause, may be in for a rude awakening.
(c) 2017 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His website is

Behind The Mask Of The 'Moderates'
By Chris Hedges

TORONTO-Pity Canada. Its citizens watch the stages of U.S. decline and then, a few years later, inflict on themselves the same cruelties. It is as if the snuffing out of democracy across the globe and the rise of authoritarian regimes are a preordained Greek tragedy and all of us, in spite of our yearning for liberty, must ominously play an assigned part.

Canada is currently in the Barack Obama phase of self-immolation. Its prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is-as Obama was-a fresh face with no real political past or established beliefs, a brand. Trudeau excels, like Obama, French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in empty symbolism. These "moderates" spew progressive and inclusive rhetoric while facilitating social inequality, a loss of rights and the degradation of the environment by global corporations. They are actors in skillfully crafted corporate advertisements.

"Liberal democracy is bifurcating, giving rise to two new regime forms: 'illiberal democracy,' or democracy without rights, and 'undemocratic liberalism,' or rights without democracy," writes political theorist Yascha Mounk.

The "moderate" politicians espouse "undemocratic liberalism." Lifestyle choices and expressions of personal identity are respected, even championed, while we are politically disempowered. The focus on multiculturalism and identity politics is anti-politics. It is accompanied by sterile reforms-such as more professionalized policing-that never challenge the underlying structures of corporate power, which has turned the workers of deindustrialized communities into surplus or redundant labor. We no longer seek to eradicate poverty; instead we applaud ourselves for not stigmatizing the poor. Only when the corporate forces cannibalizing nations are named and fought, as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is doing in Britain, can we prevent the rise of protofascists such as Donald Trump who seek to implant an "illiberal democracy." The recent elections in Germany, which saw the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) take 94 seats in the Bundestag, making it the third-largest party, spell not only the imminent demise of Merkel but the demise of all who engage in the pantomime of "undemocratic liberalism."

Trudeau, Macron, Turnbull, Merkel and Obama, because they appear to champion liberal ideals, discredit not only political "moderates" but also the core values of a liberal democracy. When the public rejects feckless politicians it also rejects the supposed values they represent. Fascism rises out of failed democracies where elites mouth the feel-your-pain language of liberalism while selling out the public. This was true in 1917 Russia, in Weimar Germany and in the former Yugoslavia.

Canada, like France, Australia and Germany, will never descend to the levels of nihilistic violence and mass shootings that plague the United States. There is enough of a residue of its socialist programs, such as universal health care and public education, to prevent it from becoming as cruel and heartless-although there will be efforts to steadily defund and destroy these programs. Canada, France, Australia and Germany will not crash their economies trying to maintain an empire they can no longer afford. But they are, nevertheless, steadily marching toward the new authoritarianism, toward joining the despotisms rising up in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. The model for the future is not Liberte, egalite, fraternite-it is China's ruthless corporate totalitarianism. Where is Tommy Douglas, the great Canadian socialist who once described the free enterprise system as giving elephants the right to dance among chickens, when you need him?

Trudeau, Merkel, Turnbull, Macron and Obama, along with the Clintons and the United Kingdom's Tony Blair, represent the last desperate phase of corporate capitalism. Once their sunny faces are spurned, the face of hate rises to take their place. The con artists and thieves, no longer hiding behind the curtains, come out to pillage in the open, actively making war on the anemic democratic institutions, from the press to the courts, all of which long ago surrendered to corporate power. These protofascists rely for control on the array of undemocratic tools legalized by their "moderate" predecessors-wholesale surveillance, militarized police, the criminalizing of dissent, the primacy of "law and order" and the revoking of due process and other rights by judicial and legislative fiat.

These "moderates" substitute personal style and esthetics for politics. They offer no real solutions to the assault by corporate capitalism and to growing social inequality. They preach fatuous bromides, like Candide, about "the best of all possible worlds" while ignoring the disasters and suffering around them. They call for tolerance and civility while empowering corporate machinery that creates an intolerant and uncivil society. They are mountebanks and charlatans. Their singular skill is to peddle in political form the drivel of positive psychologists. They make us, at least temporarily, feel good about ourselves. They use gestures-Trudeau kayaking down the Niagara River for World Environment Day-to mask their collaboration with corporations in the exploitation and poisoning of the natural world. Trudeau, despite his progressive rhetoric about climate change, is facilitating the building of new pipelines through Canada and the United States to export more oil out of Alberta's tar sands, one of the world's most catastrophic assaults on the ecosystem. Obama's environment record looked as if it was lifted from Sarah Palin. Turnbull and Merkel are no better. This rank hypocrisy, extended to all issues, is what dooms the proponents of "undemocratic liberalism."

The "moderates," like those on the far right, refuse to acknowledge reality. They speak and act as if we live in a democracy rather than a system defined by Sheldon Wolin as inverted totalitarianism," one where the consent of the governed is a joke, elections are legalized bribery and public policy is determined not by popular will but by corporate lobbyists. It does not matter, as illustrated by the Republican tax plan now before the U.S. Senate, what is just or what the public supports. There are no institutions left in the United States that can authentically be called democratic. The end result of this elaborate charade is embodied in the rise of the grotesque spectacle of the Trump administration or the protofascism in Hungary led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Stoking the fires of our decline and this political fantasy are useful idiots such as writer/blogger Andrew Sullivan, who argues that our problem is that we have too much democracy.

The novelist and social critic James Baldwin wrote, "People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster."

Nations have surrendered their economies to global banks, corporations, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. This has created political paralysis. The longer this paralysis continues, the more governing institutions and "undemocratic liberalism" are discredited. The inability of the "moderates" to protect democracy, along with their attempt to redirect democratic aspirations to the culture wars, means they and traditional liberal and democratic values will vanish and the door will be flung open to the right-wing proponents of "illiberal democracy."

We must build mass movements to defy the "moderates" and overthrow corporate power or be frog-marched into a corporate dystopia ruled by narcissists, generals, racists, conspiracy theorists, misogynists, con artists, xenophobes and bigots. The "moderates" are as dangerous as the protofascists. Their "liberal" rhetoric about social issues disempowers the left and often makes it their accomplice. We cannot reform the corporate state. It must be destroyed. Trudeau is as much the enemy as Trump. Time is running out. It may be too late to save the United States, although we Americans must try. Whatever our fate, it would be heartening if our national tragedy provided a lesson of salvation for others.
(c) 2017 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Keep up with Chris Hedges' latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Monte Wolverton ~~~

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Trump Privately Terrified His Sexual Assault Victims Will Someday Come Forward
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Expressing concerns about a potentially disastrous scandal, President Trump reportedly confided to White House officials Friday that he was terrified that his sexual assault victims would someday come forward.

"I'm seeing all this news lately about women speaking out against these men who acted very inappropriately toward them and the repercussions those same men now face, and I'm honestly scared of what would happen if one day I'm accused publicly by 10 or maybe even more women whom I"ve harassed or assaulted in the past," said a visibly shaken Trump, adding that the president of the United States was held to a higher standard of conduct and the American people would demand the nation's leader immediately answer for these disgusting actions, leaving him with absolutely no recourse but to resign from office.

"Oh my god, I can't imagine how bad it would be. The U.S. populace would never stand for something like that. If anything, the country would unite against a serial harasser. I would be raked through the coals for it, shunned forever from public life."

Trump added that luckily no women ever accused him of such depraved behavior during his campaign because, if they had, he most certainly would never have been elected president.
(c) 2017 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 17 # 47 (c) 11/24/2017

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